I got the chance to sit down with Chase Minnifield, a native of Lexington, Kentucky whose views on life will make you change your personal perspective. Chase played college football at the University of Virginia where he was named 2x First-team All-ACC in 2010 and 2011. Despite his draft hype, he ended up signing with the Washington Redskins after the draft. From 2012 to 2014 he dealt with many highs and lows that come with football. He landed on his feet now as the CEO of two-property tech companies and this success has made him a Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree. Learn more about Chase Minnifield.
Tell me how you felt about your NFL career when you were playing and how you feel about it now.
When it ended it was a reality check! I was too big for my britches, thinking do they even know who they’re letting go? I really thought I was in control and no matter how hard I worked, I will get what I want. Well, I did work hard and I didn’t get what I wanted. Looking back on my NFL experience, I am very excited to be an entrepreneur and in control of my own destiny. I have control over my family and my future. In the league I woke up everyday not knowing if I had a job. Now I wake up and I think, how many jobs can I do? There’s been a very big paradigm shift in my perspective on what life is and what I want out of it.
Do you feel that your career ending early forced you to grow as a man?
It forced me to grow quickly. I think I was an infant in many ways in my mind at the time. I actually went into a dark period of not knowing what I was going to do. Then I created Helping Hand, the name came to me when I was in church. I decided to look up cheap businesses I can start and stumbled upon the idea of a moving company. Helping Hands original idea was a moving company which even later developed into me helping my friends and family out who were struggling to get job opportunities. We ended up creating an environment where you have a group of close people who are all genuinely happy striving for success.
Talk about EZ Turn.
EZ is very exciting! It’s the reason why I was chosen for the Forbes 30 under 30 list. It’s a revolutionary technology company that is changing the ways student housing operations along with property managers for off-campus housing are managing their turn process. Before EZ Turn the job was done using Excel and spreadsheets. Now we provide them with software and applications that allow them to not only schedule vendors, but also pick out their vendors. EZ Turn enables better management during their time period, and controls their invoicing. Of course, among all that, EZ Turn is a timesaver, and I truly believe it’s an application that will change the way they do things in higher education.
What on the field Football lessons have helped you in life off the field?
Well for those who follow my Instagram, you’ll know that I live by clichés and motivational quotes. I believe it’s extremely valuable as far as perspective and understanding that life is hard. Life will knock you down but it’s about getting back up. What I’ve learned from my coaches and football is that no matter what goes on, you always have another play, another quarter, another day, and another opportunity. As an entrepreneur I had to learn how to listen to “No”. You can hear no 500 times a day, but one yes can change the course of your life.
Do you appreciate the game of football for the mentality it gave you?
I love the mentality that football gave me. Football gets a lot of heat with CTE, concussions, and injuries, but what people who’ve not played don’t know is that football is a life sport. It’s more than just running full speed into each other. Sometimes you have to learn to get hit hard and learn to hit back harder and that’s not limited to the goal post. No, that’s life.
How important is it be versatile in your field of business as a young professional?
I think you have to wear as many hats as you can. I believe that the number of hats you where plays a role in how successful you are going to be. As far as entrepreneurship, I had to teach myself to do a whole bunch of things. With technology in 2019 you can make a one-person office look like a 30-person office to your consumers. But the lack of versatility might be one of the fears that people have and at Helping Hands we bridge that gap of showing them that entrepreneurship is not a scary thing anymore. We can do this! We have the tools out there that can make everybody be successful in this field and essentially any field out there.
Why do you think it was important to help your close friends and family first with Helping Hands?
It was important for them to get on board first because it has to work at home. If it doesn’t work at home, then it doesn’t work 300 miles away. The vision was local first then I realized we can actually be successful at different locations across the country. I worked with my teammate who was from Philadelphia and he was able to provide opportunities for others in his city and this opened doors in the DMV area, LA and more. I was able to provide a platform that helped locally and then I watched it spread in multiple areas of the country.
Talk about the important of impacting the youth with programs like the Minnifield Foundation.
Our motto for the foundation is to “Out-dream Yourself” and I think its imperative for kids to see something different from what they currently see. Our job was to put people into our community that was successful that looked like them. We did a Superbowl party at SkyZone. We brought out all the people of the city to come and here you have lawyers, former athletes, business men and women, and even Disney characters. I just want them to see it. Because if you can see it you can be it and I feel like that helped me when I was younger. I saw what opportunities there were and I never thought there was anything I couldn’t accomplish.
How important is it for athletes to maximize the use of their platform?
Athletes need to understand that they have a very rare platform. Like we did with Helping Hands. I think it’s extremely valuable to use your opportunity or whatever small time you have to bring up other people. Ironically a lot of people that I helped were football players, they were given opportunities just like me. You don’t control the game; one mistake caused by you or not can change the course of your career outcome. I’m really excited that Helping Hands was able to create thousands of jobs all over the country. Athletes on all levels should know that they bring a lot to the table and use their influence.
Where do you see the potential of your platform to be?
Wherever there is a university, we believe Helping Hands can be there. Right now you can find us at UVA, locations in Florida and North Carolina. If you have a university close to you, we can allow you the opportunity to create your first company. It can be a side hustle or you can take it to something you live off of. Being that our potential is people, we have our eyes set on billions.